Dating Violence

Dating violence is controlling, abusive and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It can happen in straight or gay relationships.  It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination of them.

Controlling behavior includes:

  • Not letting you hang out with your friends
  • Calling or paging you frequently to find out where you are, who you’re with and what you’re doing
  • Telling you what to wear
  • Having to be with you all the time

Verbal and emotional abuse includes:

  • Calling you names
  • Jealousy
  • Belittling you (cutting you down)
  • Threatening to hurt you, someone in your family, or themselves if you don’t do what they want

Physical abuse includes:

  • Shoving
  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • Pinching
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Hair pulling
  • Strangling

Sexual abuse includes:

  • Unwanted touching and kissing
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Not letting you use birth control
  • Forcing you to do other sexual things

Anyone can be a victim of dating violence.  Both boys and girls are victims but boys and girls abuse their partners in different ways.  Girls are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch, or kick.  Boys injure girls more, are more likely to punch their partner, and more likely to force them to participate in unwanted sexual activity.  Some teen victims experience violence occasionally.  Others are abused more often, sometimes daily.

If you are a survivor of dating violence, you might…

  • Think it’s your fault
  • Feel angry, sad, lonely, depressed or confused
  • Feel helpless to stop the abuse
  • Feel threatened or humiliated
  • Feel anxious
  • Not know what might happen next
  • Feel like you can’t talk to family and friends
  • Be afraid of getting hurt more seriously
  • Feel protective of your boyfriend/girlfriend

You’re not alone

  • One in three teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship.
  • 50 percent to 80 percent of teens have reported knowing others who were involved in violent relationships.
  • 15 percent of teen girls and boys have reported being victims of severe dating violence (defined as being hit, thrown down, or attacked with a weapon).
  • 8 percent of 8th and 9th grade students have reported being victims of sexual dating violence.
  • Young women, ages 16 to 24 years, experience the highest rates of relationship violence.